Friday, March 4, 2016

A Majestic Restoration

This morning I am reading Isaiah chapter 60 over and over again and it is washing me. God is describing the restoration of Israel and the descriptions alone are so majestic.

I know for some large chunks of scripture are hard to digest but in some cases I think dicing up passages do injustice to them because context is lost and context is a key to understanding.

Just imagine yourself as a ruined used up nation who had a time of power and prosperity but now that time is past. You are broken and disgraced by your own failures but God speaks the following words to you...

"Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Lift up your eyes all around, and see; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from afar, and your daughters shall be carried on the hip. Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and exult, because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall bring good news, the praises of the LORD. All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered to you; the rams of Nebaioth shall minister to you; they shall come up with acceptance on my altar, and I will beautify my beautiful house. Who are these that fly like a cloud, and like doves to their windows? For the coastlands shall hope for me, the ships of Tarshish first, to bring your children from afar, their silver and gold with them, for the name of the LORD your God, and for the Holy One of Israel, because he has made you beautiful. Foreigners shall build up your walls, and their kings shall minister to you; for in my wrath I struck you, but in my favor I have had mercy on you. Your gates shall be open continually; day and night they shall not be shut, that people may bring to you the wealth of the nations, with their kings led in procession. For the nation and kingdom that will not serve you shall perish; those nations shall be utterly laid waste. The glory of Lebanon shall come to you, the cypress, the plane, and the pine, to beautify the place of my sanctuary, and I will make the place of my feet glorious. The sons of those who afflicted you shall come bending low to you, and all who despised you shall bow down at your feet; they shall call you the City of the LORD, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel. Whereas you have been forsaken and hated, with no one passing through, I will make you majestic forever, a joy from age to age. You shall suck the milk of nations; you shall nurse at the breast of kings; and you shall know that I, the LORD, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob. Instead of bronze I will bring gold, and instead of iron I will bring silver; instead of wood, bronze, instead of stones, iron. I will make your overseers peace and your taskmasters righteousness. Violence shall no more be heard in your land, devastation or destruction within your borders; you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise. The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light; but the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun shall no more go down, nor your moon withdraw itself; for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall be ended. Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I might be glorified. The least one shall become a clan, and the smallest one a mighty nation; I am the LORD; in its time I will hasten it." - Isaiah 60:1-22 ESV

A nation can't think. It is an entity with no mind similar to a corporation or a continent.

People think and have sensibilities. We see, feel and understand. When God speaks to this nation who is He addressing? He is speaking indirectly to you and to me isn't He? He knows our needs. He recognizes our lack and our desires.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart." - Jeremiah 29:11-13 ESV

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." - John 10:10-11 ESV

I read Isaiah 60 and marvel and the sensitivity of my God. The God of this nation has become my Father. I am not just His creation. He has adopted me into His family because I have accepted the friendship of His Son.

If He knows how to restore His nation with such flair and abundance doesn't He know how to restore us?

If we look to long at the suffering around us bitterness and despair can enter into our hearts. People can seem forgotten and obscure like this tiny nation whose impact seemed to be a thing of the past.

Israel has hope because of God. Israel could have been wiped from history like so many tiny nations but it remains and it will be restored. God has made them a promise and this great Restorer is thinking of You today. He has good plans for You right this minute.

I read the chapter and let it wash me. I have failed and will fail but the best is yet to come. I have a God who know every cell in my body and loves me in spite of me. Good things wait down the road. A great majestic restoration awaits all who believe.


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